My mom used to pressure me about sex during my teenage years: “When are you going to have me  some grandbabies? I’m not getting any younger. You need to get yourself a girlfriend.” My dad would often taunt me about sex, too: “Son, who’s that girl you were talking to outside? Is that your girlfriend? What do you mean you aren’t dating? What do you mean you are practicing abstinence? My son ain’t gay is he?”

I wanted to honor my parents by having sex and blessing them with grandchildren, but for some reason–although my parents weren’t married–I knew deep down inside my heart that sex was only for married people. So I waited. But in doing so, I was going against the social norm because society taught me that what makes me a man is not found in how I can remain sexually chaste, but in how many women I can sleep with. It was challenging for me to remain a virgin in an overly sex driven culture; To be enticed and seduced by individuals at school who wanted to “pop my cherry”; To be solicited for sex by random,  promiscuous women on the street and by down low men lurking in public restrooms… And I knew they meant well, but to also come home and be pressured by my parents to have sex was just overbearing.

However, despite all the external temptations and internal battles with my raging hormones, I was able to maintain my virginity for 24 years, until the day of my wedding night–I was engaged for nearly two years but didn’t have sex nor did I even kiss my wife until “I do.”

Keeping myself pure has not been easy at all, though. Although I managed to maintain my virginity until marriage as far as intercourse was concerned, because of my extreme frailty and the lack of moral standards I had within my relationships, I ended up compromising sexually in other ways: via pornography, cybersex, phone sex, sexting, kissing, making out, mutual masturbation, being the recipient of oral stimulation, etc.

But God! I thank God for coming into my life when he did, and for preventing me from eventually going “all the way.” I thank God for teaching me how to love myself, how to value my body and how to have self control. I thank God for giving me wisdom and practical tips on how to deal with my own sexual urges and with the sexual advances that others would make toward me.  I wish I could have remained sexually pure in all of my ways during my entire single life, but I can’t turn back the hands of time.

I just thank God that his grace is sufficient and his mercies are everlasting. I thank God for the bloodshed of his son, Christ Jesus, who forgives me of my sins and removes my guilt and shame. And I thank God that he finally gave me a wife whom I can now share and express my affections to (the right way without committing fornication). I thank God that I didn’t listen to my friends or my parents to have sex and babies while I was still in school–that would have interfered in my education. I’m grateful that I waited on God’s perfect timing. It feels good to know that I didn’t give up my virginity to some random person just for the sake of gaining the experience of having sex and just so I could fit in with the guys in school who mostly talk about sex.

I thank God I waited until I found someone who I love and vice versa, and that we entered into a mutual, monogamous, lifelong, Christ-centered covenant with each other, and not just a friends with benefit type of relationship. This lessens my likelihood of being cheated on, broken up with, or contracting a disease. Now that I’m married, I’m in a morally upright position to have children, and I’m glad that my kids will not have to worry about being born out of wedlock or growing up a bastard, or raised by a single parent like I was.

If you are reading this and you are still a virgin, or someone who has or who wants to rededicated themselves to abstinence, I just want to encourage you with my testimony. Know your self worth and don’t give in to the peer pressure,  no matter who it is coming from. True love is worth the wait! #NoWedNoBed #TransparentForChrist

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